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Exclusive Counting Of Gator Players' Traffic Tickets Finds That They Speed!

From the Orlando Sentinel. Cue the righteous indignation!

Florida has had well-publicized arrests in recent months stemming from traffic charges – including Carlos Dunlap's DUI charge on Dec. 1 -- but those incidents comprise a small fraction of a team-wide 251 traffic citations in Alachua County, according to Orlando Sentinel research.

These charges range from speeding tickets to numerous cases of driving with a suspended or revoked license, typically a second-degree misdemeanor or, for repeat offenders, a felony.

The data was compiled in late November and early December through Alachua County court records, accounting for 96 Gators who either entered fall camp on scholarship or served in the "game participation" portion of this season's boxscores. Charges stem from 2006-09 for football players who usually drive cars or motorized scooters around campus or in Gainesville.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am siding with the Gators here because of my own history with speeding tickets. I was pulled over four times in Alachua County/Gainesville while I was in school and got three tickets (not including two tow truck bail outs). My younger brother got a ticket for rolling downhill too fast on a bike. (He, as a formerly D-1A recruited safety, claims that the reason why so many defensive players got tickets is because defensive players are not as smart as we think.) Yes, it is absurd how many tickets some of these kids have, but too many tickets is a lot better than smoking weed or getting your drink on and driving. That doesn't make it right, but that doesn't make it a capital crime either. This sounds like throwing stones from glass houses. 

And this isn't like the Sentinel's previous reporting of arrests within the football program. Those were legitimate crimes. Getting caught doing a 30 in a 20 zone on campus is relatively harmless. So is 44 in front of Shands (yeah, speed limit there is 35, says the cop who wrote me a ticket as I was DD'ing for friends). The crime here is that the offenders get caught, don't pay a fine, and then drive the same way before they got a ticket. They have no concept of points on your license or that each ticket builds on the next. They probably also think that holding onto an actual driver's license means you can drive and that privileges cannot be revoked. As much as I am a believer in coaches and support personnel taking a more active role in players lives, I don't expect them to teach driving skills.

I take this as much ado about nothing. The 96 Gators cited with violations equals out to 24 per season (Sentinel tracked 2006-09). 24 players out of 85 is about 28% of the team getting caught speeding or committing other infractions. I can live with that. If half the team was getting caught, now that would require some righteous indignation.